Mumbai: Had the Shiv Sena and BJP contested the Maharashtra Assembly elections together, they would have won more than 200 seats, Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has said.
However, the voters have brought the two parties to such a situation that they should come together to form the next government, Raut, the executive editor of Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana' wrote in his weekly column in its today's edition.
The results of the just-concluded Assembly elections in Maharashtra show that the state's Gujarati community voted against Sena and in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Even though Gujaratis have been living in Maharashtra for long, they came together to support Modi and Amit Shah as both hail from Gujarat. They forgot Sena chief late Balasaheb Thackeray's favours to them on Hindutva issue,” Raut said.
However, the leader was quick to assert that frank analysis of the election results does not mean that Shiv Sena had taken an anti-Gujarati stand.
He highlighted the defeats of senior leader Subhash Desai in Goregaon, Vinod Ghosalkar in Dahisar and Pandurang Sapkal in Colaba to stress his point of Gujaratis voting against Shiv Sena.
“What does the defeats of Sena leaders despite doing good work signify? Maharashtra had once again voted in the name of Narendra Modi and BJP had succeeded,” he wrote.
With reference to BJP's support for Vidarbha statehood and speculations that the Modi government wanted to undermine the importance of Mumbai, Raut asked, “What did Maharashtra get out of the results...cloud of uncertainty over United Maharashtra and status of Mumbai?”
He said 17 Sena candidates were defeated with a margin of 49 to 1,500 votes.
“They fell prey to money and muscle power. If they would have been elected, the Sena's strength would have been more than 80. In Mumbai, Thane and Pune belt, Sena votes were taken away by MNS. This benefited BJP in Kalyan, Dombivali and Pune,” Raut said.